Can suffering be beautiful?

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A friend that I met at a mom’s group invited me to her church, where they do a weekly bible study and they have free child care. Up until today, she was the only young mum using it! Most of the ladies who attend this bible study are older, retired women.

It was so refreshing to listen to ladies much older than I am, most of whom are in the grandmother or great-grandmother stage of life. In fact, one of the most touching things from this meeting was how graciously each was living through their own suffering. When asked about prayer intentions, each woman had their own serious medical condition, or was praying for someone else who did. And yet, the way each spoke about it, and prayed about it, not only did they accept that suffering was a necessary part of being a Christian, it was a way for them to grow closer to God and depend more intimately on him. 

After my last post about my faith, being with these women was exactly what I needed. 

Josh is sick right now, like really sick. He got it way worse than Joseph or I did. He has the flu, big time. He has been sick since he got home from his hockey tournament on Sunday. He stayed home from work today, and was fairly bed-ridden. I am ashamed to admit this, but as the day went on, I came to resent him. am tired. am still getting over being sick. didn’t have the luxury of having someone take on the duty of Joseph while I was sick. want to nap and rest. I was feeling quite sorry for myself.

I decided to take Joseph to the library this evening, to give Josh some time to rest, even though I was dead tired and not entirely sure I could handle Joe in a public space. But on the car ride over, an important idea popped into my head: What makes me think I am entitled to an easy and pain-free life? 

Lately, my thoughts have been poisonous and cyclical. Ideas of me being “wronged” by life circle in my head, repeating, until I am feeling quite awful.  Is there a way to change my cyclical thinking to be positive? I did a little prayer. God, I can’t seem to change my mind on my own. Can you help me put new thoughts in my head? 

I tried to replace the bad thoughts with good thoughts:  I’m so fortunate that I have a car and that the library is so close to us. I get to pick up my books on hold. I can’t wait to read about herb gardening. How wonderful that I can give Josh the opportunity to rest, I hope he feels better. Thank goodness I didn’t get that sick when I was alone this weekend. Its so great that Joseph can finally get out of the house and play. This will be a great way to tire Joseph out before bed.

You know, it really worked. I stopped focusing on myself and all the “bad” things, and tried to spin them into positives. We had a great time at the library, and Joseph was in bed and asleep by 9:30. Josh too, haha.

I think the way my mind was able to change course was beautiful. And…it was a prayer answered. Is this how suffering can bring me closer to God? Because I know I can’t do this on my own? If this is true, then I am thankful for my hardships, if it allows me to know God’s love more intimately.

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